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Tag Archives: 3.01

Masters of Sex 3.01 “Parliament of Owls” Costume Design Recap

13 Jul

The TV Ate My Wardrobe Masters of Sex coverage leans heavily towards costume design elements and as this first episode of the new season is also costume designer Ane Crabtree’s last episode on the show I want to focus on this aspect of this premiere. So there will be some plot discussion, but maybe not as much as previous reviews.

First thing to take note of is the time jump as season 2 ended in early 1961 and the very useful title card at the start of “Parliament of Owls” tells us it is now 1965. This means bigger hair, more pants and patterns. It isn’t a completely different change style wise with Libby still sticking to pastels and Virginia’s bow and button details remain intact (if not a little bigger in places) and the most notable difference is Virginia’s children who are now fully fledged teenagers (and different actors). The teens are used in this opening episode as a way to heighten conflict and so far they have proved to be pesky to both the adults and the audience. Think more Kim Bauer than Paige Jennings.

Masters of Sex 3.01 shoppingStarting with my favorite Virginia look from the episode in her oh so relaxed and chic combination of capri pants and a green shirt tied up in the middle signifying she is on vacation. Despite it being far from a chilled out break with so many different points of tension Virginia still manages to look the part in her sun hat and sunglasses. In fact you could wear this ensemble today and not look out of place.

A closer look at the pair:

Masters of Sex 3.01 sunglassesLibby on the other hand looks rigid and formal in her pale blue dress and while it is probably on trend for the time, the contrast between the two women and how comfortable they are in their skin is palpable.

Take Libby’s reaction when she sees Virginia hula dancing with Virginia’s daughter Jenny (Libby and Bill now have three children and the title card at the end informs us that everything about the kids is “entirely fictitious”).

Masters of sex 3.01 hula Masters of Sex 3.01 Libby watchingWhile Libby looks somewhat uptight here (although I love the gold belt detail) for their lakeside location, the outfit from the previous day is far more relaxed and shows just how much Virginia and Bill’s arrival has impacted her mental state.

Masters of Sex 3.01This reads as far more playful and vacation mom with her headscarf and gingham (which is so on point this season as Lizzy Caplan showed off on Jimmy Kimmel Live! recently). It is a very put together outfit and fits in with this whole ideal family that Libby is trying to maintain; the cracks are clear and even though she thinks it is best to put on a happy family front it is far more likely to be detrimental to the children.

Masters of Sex 3.01 Bill and VirginiaThere has always is a lot red, blue and white in Virginia’s wardrobe and she is killing it with her headscarf choice here which is the perfect accessory for a road trip in an MG convertible. Plus so many excellent side eye looks in Bill’s direction.

It is important to remember that even though there has been a significant time jump when it comes to personal style evolution it doesn’t tend to be all that dramatic when you are an adult, especially if you have found a look you are comfortable with and I would say Virginia has done just this.

Masters of Sex 3.01 Virginia sunglasses blue dressUnlike Libby, Virginia ditches her headscarf before she steps into her house and this dress is very much Virginia work attire.

Masters of Sex 3.01 Virginia and TessaLater on Virginia switches her work clothes for leisure ones, but there is room for more disdainful looks as her daughter Tessa pushes boundaries. But hey her blouse and pants are a good look.

Masters of Sex 3.01 Bill cardiganBill’s version of vacay dressing is removing his bow tie and putting on a chunky knit cardigan that Olivia Pope would drink a whole lot of wine in.

Masters of Sex 3.01 cardigans and convertiblesThe cardigan and Bill are one.

Masters of Sex 3.01 bedVirginia’s bedwear screams winter rather than a warm weekend at the lake and I wonder if she is trying to be as unalluring as possible because even when a secret affair is not as secret as you think, you probably don’t want to be hooking up when the wife and all of your kids are under the same roof. This is the most forward we have seen Libby about this whole setup and again they are wearing garments that play on how different they are with Libby being the surprisingly provocative one in this conversation.

They do share one thing in this bizarre friendship and that is Bill Masters; for some reason all I can think about is the Princess Diana interview where she talks about there being three people in her marriage.

Master of Sex 3.01 VirginiaThere is a time jump within a time jump in this episode as the narrative moves between the presentation Bill and Virginia are giving to the press and the time at the lake when they have received the first galleys of their book. Their book is released in 1966, which means another year looms on the horizon.

I would be remiss if I didn’t show this shot of Virginia getting ready, practicing her talking points and eating breakfast because it is a perfect showcase of the foundation garments which I discuss in detail over at Flavorwire.

Masters of Sex 3.01 bathroomA well put together lady suit and a bathroom revelation with Bill putting the unzipped skirt and Virginia’s throwing up together to equal pregnant. After all the talk of making sure her daughter doesn’t end up pregnant it is Virginia who ends up in the family way. Super awkward and a story development that I’m not sure how I feel about.

Masters of Sex 3.01 BettyAnd to end things on a bright note with Betty in glorious yellow and while she only made a brief appearance, this ensemble is the best of all things Betty; bold and straight to the point.

I’m looking forward to seeing Ane Crabtree’s work on the forthcoming HBO show Westworld and I am intrigued to see how Masters of Sex will progress now that both feet are firmly in the 1960s.

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The Wish List: Delphine’s Return to Prints on Orphan Black

22 Jun

It was the season 3 finale of Orphan Black on Saturday and as per the standard Clone Club crazy there were plenty of twists and all the feelings moments. In this world it is hard to trust anyone who doesn’t have Tatiana Maslany’s face and the core group of regulars make up what is actually a rather small cast when you take away Maslany out of the equation. One character who has always been on the outside is Delphine and her loyalty is hard to gauge as while her love for Cosima is undeniable her overall agenda and position is less certain. In season 3 she took on the Rachel role at Dyad putting her in direct conflict with Cosima and her sisters pushing her even further away from the women she loves.

Over this year Delphine’s costuming has shifted from patterns to streamlined style where the only flourishes have been the slightly harsher details of fur and leather and the only sartorial aspect she now shares with her ex is an excellent collection of outerwear. In the first episode Delphine shows up in a Michael Kors fur panel coat and a sleek monochromatic look in a leather trim Helmut Lang blazer. An instant entry into #LadySuitWatch2015.

Orphan Black 3.01 Delphine fur Orphan Black 3.01 DelphineCut to the Orphan Black season finale (spoilers ahead) and Delphine’s return to pattern as she makes some tough choices which lead to an almost certain grave end. It is not a definitive goodbye, but it sure doesn’t look good for our favorite French scientist especially as there’s an emotionally charged Cosima scene which feels like a farewell of sorts and plays out before the parking garage confrontation with an unseen assailant. *sob*

Delphine’s costuming has been rather straight forward this year sticking to dark colors and white; all very no nonsense corporate attire. In the season finale she deviates from this in a patterned Zara blouse which nods to who she was before she took this position of power. Her top button is still done up giving off an executive air, but this print is Delphine revealing her old style as she attempts to make things right for Cosima and her sisters.

Orphan Black 3.10 DelphineDefiance is etched all over her face and this is still keeping with the black and white color palette that Delphine has always favored; this Twitter back and forth between Tatiana Maslany and Evelyne Brochu includes this photo of Delphine and Cosima’s first official meeting (cue more sobs) which shows Delphine’s penchant for the black and white.

Orphan Black S1If only her motivations had been so clearly defined as her wardrobe color palette. But she definitely had Cosima’s back and if this indeed the end for Delphine they have lost one ally who was in a position of some influence; her maybe last words emphasize her true love infused agenda “What will happen to her?” 

She also had a pretty fabulous chair spin down:

[Source]

So goodbye for now Delphine and hopefully this is not the end.

[Source]

Hannibal’s European Vacation: Why so Blue, Bedelia?

5 Jun

“You seem more interested in making appearances than maintaining them.”

Morality, ethics and aesthetics are all covered in the first back and forth between Hannibal and Bedelia in the season 3 premiere of Hannibal, which takes place after a decadent party and Hannibal flexing his prowess through Dante and dance. Appearances are important and maintaining his cover seems like less of a concern when measuring egos and playing a game of cat and mouse with whatever person lies before him. These encounters include talk of fairy tales – Hannibal lives on the opposite end of the fantastical spectrum which Pushing Daisies also inhabits – playing the game of ‘how many times can you say ‘bonsoir’ before you kill someone?’ or giving a dinner guest delicacies to make them taste better.

Willing participants are hard to find and part of this season opener starts to explore why Bedelia is Hannibal’s European vacation (can it still be called a vacation if you are technically on the run?) partner and what her motivations are.

Hannibal 3.01 Bedelia in blueProfessional curiosity is a term which has been used on Hannibal in the past including Alana citing this as reason why she couldn’t get romantically involved with Will Graham back in season 1 as she didn’t think she would be able to stop analyzing him. Curiosity is also something Bedelia cites on several occasions and it is like she hasn’t heard the well known phrase involving a feline. When it comes to making appearances Bedelia stands out in a crowd and the blue ensemble which I have been clamoring to see within the context of an episode was unveiled in “Antipasto” and it resembles the most incognito spy from the 1940s. Covert is not a word either Bedelia or Hannibal are considering when picking out their attire first thing in the morning and they are sartorially suited to each other.

Hannibal 3.01 policemanOther than the carousel which lights up the shot, Bedelia is the only one wearing color in the square full of people with the local policeman taking note of her in a big way. He isn’t suspicious and instead gives her a flirtatious salute; he is not going to forget the woman in blue.

Hannibal 3.01 eye Hannibal 3.01 CCTVBedelia is also caught on camera and this one seems kind of deliberate as she stares directly at the CCTV ‘eye’ while she is at the train station. Being enveloped in Hannibal’s world limits escape options as we witnessed in the house of horrors at the end of last season and everyone who came at Hannibal in his home were left broken and bleeding. Bedelia wants to flee attempting to do so later in the episode, but her curiosity coupled with her darkness that Hannibal has tapped into gives her a reason to stay. Even if she knows that ultimately she will end up on Hannibal’s plate.

Hannibal 3.01 Bedelia in goldBathed in gold light in this twisted fairy tale life and coming home from the ball temporarily breaks the spell; giving Bedelia the opportunity to question Hannibal’s motives. Despite the warm light there is something incredibly icy in this scene as both circle around the other talking as if they are still in a therapy session. At the same time there is an intimacy which is evident in the way Bedelia asks him to unzip her dress (the same dress from these stunning promo photos).

Flashbacks reveal how Hannibal and Bedelia ended up on the plane together as her residence is where he cleaned off Will, Abigail and Jack’s blood. Hannibal is all about equal opportunities bathing and Bedelia had the opportunity to end it all when she pointed her gun at him as he stood their naked; instead she went for option number two with a fun packed trip to Europe. The why of this comes from the other jump into the past and the aftermath of her patient attack and subsequent murder (oh hey Zachary Quinto!) with Hannibal’s manipulation going according to schedule. He wipes her bloody brow and gets her to ask for his help while unlocking the darkness in her.

Hannibal 3.01 showerThese revelations come after the bath of sinking into the depths and water is hugely symbolic on Hannibal. Will Graham’s ‘mind palace’ fishing sessions rest on water as cleansing and calming, but water also signifies how something can envelope. As Bedelia drifts down she is doing so out of choice and at this point she is a willing participant, well as willing as you can be with Hannibal who is a master manipulator like no other.

Hannibal 3.01 Bedelia bathIt is important that we can still see her in this shot as it represents some level of choice in how she floats downwards. The look of Hannibal is unlike any other show on TV and as Bedelia lets go she is lit up as if she is a figure on a renaissance painting and the light of heaven shines on her as she sinks into hell. Considering this is on network TV I am surprised to see something like this get through S&P, but maybe the ethereal atmosphere somehow trumps nudity (nipples have been erased/are not free on this occasion).

Hannibal 3.01 Bedelia bath drifting

Yes she pulls out of the water with a shocked look on her face and it is this part of Bedelia that chooses to flee from Hannibal; albeit an unsuccessful attempt as she gets splattered with blood once again. Despite her assertion that she is observing, this is not something you get to do when Hannibal is involved and participation is a necessary requirement. It just might not be one you are conscious of.

Bedelia’s bathtub trip echoes Alana Bloom’s envelopment by inky water in the season 2 finale with one important difference as instead of sinking into it, Alana is consumed from the bottom up and we can’t see any of her below the surface.

Hannibal 2.13 Alana“All I see is dark swarming behind my eyelids. I dream darkness comes into me. It comes and it is insidious. Up my nose, into my ears. It comes and I feel poisoned.” Bedelia is bathed in light as she drifts further down whereas Alana is consumed by the horrors of Hannibal’s crimes and her blindness to them.

Hannibal 2.13 Alana darknessIn Hannibal’s flashbacks we see his time with Gideon in black and white. While no one can replace Will Graham as Hannibal’s favorite companion it doesn’t stop Hannibal from auditioning others or at least finding a temporary substitute. Even after he has helped consume two of his own limbs, Gideon is rather zen about everything that is taking place – the crimes he committed shows he is not of sound mind – and gets to the heart of the matter reflecting on Hannibal’s desire to eat with company and not just eating the company pointing to Will as his dream dinner date. Even a cannibal yearns for companionship.

How soon will Bedelia outlast her stay? Maybe she should stop eating the oysters.

The Americans 3.01 “EST Men” Review: ‘Have to be Objective to do the Job’

29 Jan

It is hard to separate the personal from the professional on The Americans when Elizabeth and Philip’s family life is so intrinsically linked to their roles as KGB officers. Their marriage and children are a by-product of the work they do and season 2 ended with a bombshell; the KGB now wants to recruit their daughter Paige into the family business and not of the travel agency kind.

When we first met Philip and Elizabeth their ideological differences were quickly established as Philip revealed he would choose their family over country. Since then the pair have broken up and come back together with their union turning from more than just work into something far deeper. Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan, but it’s hard not to forge some kind of emotional bond over a period of time this substantial. So how do you stay objective when your child could end up becoming part this dark and murky world?

The Americans 3.01Honesty is also a huge topic in “EST Men” from the meeting Philip and Stan attend to Annelise’s decision to spill the truth to Yousaf with tragic consequences. The lies that are told and whether someone deserves to know the truth weaves its way through The Americans. Paige is of course a focus of this debate as Philip so vehemently stated at the end of “Echo” that it would break her if she knew the truth. He talks of her age and how she is so close to going off to college and living a life of her own. We actually see very little of Paige in this episode and yet the Paige question simmers under the surface throughout. The church activity shows Elizabeth’s bonding attempts as well as observing Paige’s slight flirtation; Elizabeth is a lot better at fake smiling her way through it but she’s had a lot of practice. This has been a regular mother/daughter activity and much to Philip’s dismay he thinks Elizabeth is using this opportunity to assess her.

In part I think he is probably right because while it is a hard life, Elizabeth sees the sacrifices they make as means to an end to protect the Motherland. I also think Elizabeth wants a close relationship with her daughter even if she isn’t sure how to engage in this kind of behavior. The flashback we see at the start of the episode – and I think it is important to note that Elizabeth is absent in the family photo the camera focuses in on – shows Elizabeth taking a different approach to Paige’s swimming fears going for the sink or swim approach. There’s no mollycoddling here and I wonder if Paige has fond memories of that time her mom taught her how to swim. Attempts to bond have always been rather fumbling such as the bra shopping question in the pilot and Elizabeth can come across as stiff and awkward when dealing with real relationships of this nature. She is so good at fake forging a connection but when it comes to letting her guard down and experiencing actual emotions it is difficult for her.

The Americans 3.01 churchThis brings me to her relationship with her own mother and considering how guarded Elizabeth is we actually know a whole lot more about her pre-Elizabeth life than we do about Philip’s. This focus makes sense considering what is going on with Paige right now and Elizabeth’s joy at receiving a tape from home is short lived when she finds out her mother is dying and this time she isn’t around to nurse her back to health. We know it was just Elizabeth and her mother from an early age and it is likely this is playing a role in how she is dealing with this current Paige situation; even if she isn’t doing it on a conscious level coming from a single parent home is probably impacting how she views her role as a mother. Philip thinks she has been spewing lies since they found out what the KGB had in store with the second generation program and she probably has been using this time to assess Paige, but I do think she does want to be close to her child.

In a way it mirrors the argument Stan has with Sandra after his attempts to woo her back by going to an EST meeting. Sandra can see straight through his weak praise for his experience. She points out how he has been yessing her for years to avoid conflict and this sounds like Elizabeth has been doing the same to Philip up to this point with Paige. When it comes to different ideologies at least Philip and Elizabeth are pretty much on the same page (except for when it comes to the actual Paige) and I can’t see a reconciliation between Stan and Sandra as they are so distant from each other. More Philip and Stan hangouts as a result of this would be most welcome.

The Americans 3.01 GabrielSeveral new characters are introduced with the most significant being Frank Langella’s Gabriel as their new handler and unlike Claudia or Kate someone who they know and are fond of. Their history is evident from the moment they step through the door and from the way he playfully shoves Philip in the face it is clear they are very much like family. This whole setup plays like catching up with a relative from the quips to asking about kids. I fear that Henry loses points with Gabriel as he is apparently now more interested in baseball than hockey. Henry isn’t who Gabriel wants to talk about and what goes from sharing a traditional meal and pleasantries turns contentious when Paige’s recruitment is raised. Matthew Rhys delivers his best Philip pissed off face (there are several variations of this) which boils over into full contempt when they return to their car. Elizabeth claims she is just saying what they need to hear, but she sells it far too easily to Gabriel as it is something she is deeply considering.

Food plays an important part later on as when they are in a post-fight funk Elizabeth reaches out with the brownie apology that doesn’t win Philip over and then she opens up by telling him about her mother. This doesn’t automatically solve their bigger parenting differences and yet the hand hold shows all is not broken; they are still united on certain fronts.

Feelings have a way of messing things up; Stan is still pining for Nina who has been found guilty of espionage and treason. Oleg is also at a loss without Nina and he’s getting a little too cocky about his negative feelings about the war in Afghanistan and Arkady warns him not to speak so freely around those they don’t know well. Arkady also asks if Oleg has tried to use his father’s connections to help Nina to which Oleg replies that he begged, but his father isn’t into using his position for personal reasons. All hope at this point seems lost for Nina and I wonder what Oleg hopes to achieve by spying on Stan; to get some intel that might save her?

Annelise finds out the hard way that professing love when you have been playing someone might not have the best conclusion as Yousaf reacts with violent and deadly force when she reveals she has been passing on his bedroom chatter. Philip refers to this situation as ‘awful’ and while he has been intimate with her on countless occasions (including in this episode which prompted Annelise to mention her feelings of love towards Yousaf) she is ultimately a means to an end. Philip drafted in Annelise so Elizabeth wouldn’t have to do it and no matter how Philip feels about the women he uses for information he will always choose Elizabeth first. Martha also makes an appearance this week learning how to shoot with Stan and working her way through the Kama Sutra with Clark. It is a reminder of everything Philip is juggling and that as with Annelise there is potential for it to go wrong at any time. In fact they are both balancing so much that it is going to get increasingly hard for them to keep on top of everything, let alone being parents to their children.

And then comes the big news that is going to have an impact on the Cold War as the Russians are floundering in Afghanistan and their leader Leonid Brezhnev has just died. This is shown to us not through Arkady or Philip and Elizabeth finding out, but with Paige flicking through the channels and not sticking around to watch anything more about this news story. At this point it means absolutely nothing to her. Paige and Henry are surprisingly good at sharing the TV and I think this is something their parents will be very pleased to see.

Stunning Shot of the Week

The Americans 3.01 ElizabethThere are a couple of new things I want to add to these reviews and as this is one of the most visually exquisite shows on TV I want to highlight specific moments like the one above. Framing Elizabeth in the doorway emphasizes the distance that has been growing between the pair before they circle back together as a result of the news she shares about her mother. An amazing shot from director Dan Sackheim.

Disguise of the Week

The Americans 3.01 blonde scooby doo wigThe blonde Velma wig returns! And even though Elizabeth ended up with a very close call I did enjoy her attempts to distance herself from the person she looked like in the bar by turning her coat inside out and removing her glasses.* Some quick thinking allowed Elizabeth to end up the better off even with a super bruised face, shoulder and busted tooth. Agent Gad can’t quite say the same.

*A trick similar to when my friend couldn’t get into a bar after we got ID’d (She didn’t have ID and I did), which involved switching coats adding glasses and tying hair back. Yes it worked.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2015

The Americans 3.01 OOTWI have an ongoing 70s style obsession and as this is the early 80s the previous decade is still playing a big part with the style we see on screen. I sadly couldn’t get a better shot of this ‘family’ dinner attire, but Elizabeth’s calf length skirt and blue wool tee (of which I currently have a very similar looking grey one) paired with boots (her favorite shoes) is simple and super stylish. While this isn’t a fantastic view of the outfit, it is another beautifully framed shot. I am also glad to see Elizabeth’s turtleneck game has started strong this season.

The Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative Part 5

18 Sep

A year has passed since the first Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative column and what started as a standalone piece has produced multiple parts and spinoffs (incorporating New Girl and the “What Next?”). The Mindy Project plays with the rom-com formula with direct references to Nora Ephron classics like When Harry Met Sally while using traditional rom-com devices such as voiceover and subverting the genre through a strong awareness of the common tropes. In the first episode of season 3 big steps have been made as Danny and Mindy have progressed from friends, to lovers to exes and now to a couple who are not hiding their relationship from their co-workers. Smooth sailing from here then, right?

The Mindy Project 3.01Well that wouldn’t be interesting would it? There are plenty of obstacles and conflicts ahead for this new couple; the biggest one being how diametrically opposite they are about pretty much everything besides how they feel about each other. Last season Danny went through a stage of not wanting anyone to know about their relationship and then he tried to use the ‘you’re my best friend and I don’t want to lose you’ excuse as a reason to split up. Mindy saw through Danny’s scared BS and she didn’t just take him back when he simply tried to kiss her. This was one heartbreak that really hurt and so it required a little more than Danny simply responding in a possessive manner to the new dude in Mindy’s life.

They are a couple now, haters (bitches) and as I have mentioned throughout this rom-com series the “will they/won’t they” then turns into a “What next?” as they have to deal with what normally comes after the credits of a movie. The story doesn’t just end with smooching at the top of the Empire State Building.

The new season opens with Danny as the narrator mentioning the unlikelihood of this coupling when the show started and his assertion that they are very different is backed up with Mindy’s portion of the voiceover. Mindy likes to share and this is what lies at the heart of their first fight this season; it doesn’t matter that Mindy is very complimentary about Danny’s technique as it still makes him incredibly uncomfortable. Throw in a secret stripping past plus a piece of office gossip and we’ve got our first Mindy and Danny raging argument of season 3 as Danny tells Mindy that he can’t trust her. Trust is a relationship dealbreaker so are things looking precarious already?

[Source]

Far from it and while I am sure that somewhere down the line there will be a string of misunderstandings that might lead to something more contentious, this disagreement ends up with Danny spilling a lot more about himself including his Diamond Dan stripping past (which not only paid for medical school, but also allowed him to pay the mortgage on his mother’s house) and that he does have a middle name. His middle name is Alan after his dad and last season we found out more about his fractured relationship with his father with Mindy getting to witness Danny’s emotionally vulnerable side. The first time Danny kissed Mindy was on the plane ride home after this trip to see Danny’s father; boundaries got dropped all over the place.

Part of the appeal of this couple is the back and forth banter, which on occasion crosses the line with a derogatory remark about appearance such as Danny telling Mindy “get your big ass in there now” in the season 3 premiere. Comments like this cause much furrowing of the brow; Danny does refer to himself “as kind of a dick back then” in his opening narration and these moments do still slip in and on this occasion his annoyance at Mindy’s inability to keep secrets causes this unpleasant outburst. Danny is rough around the edges – not an excuse for his behavior, but an observation – and yet those edges have softened.

The list he has prepared is a big step, as is Mindy’s confession explaining why she has been so vocal about their relationship “I want it to be real and the more real it seems, the less likely it is that it could all get taken away from me.” Mindy wears her romantic temperament on her sleeve, but this level of honesty and vulnerability is rare from this character too. This statement solidifies their commitment to each other and it also signifies to the audience that we shouldn’t expect a break up in the next few episodes; they are at least in this for some sort of long haul. It is a welcome gesture as sometimes with a “will they/won’t they” couple it is easy to feel emotionally manipulated if there is a constant stream of “oh we’re almost a couple, now we’re not, now we are, oops broken up again” shenanigans. You know what else is a welcome gesture? This.

[Source – includes whole sequence]

As I said at the start of this piece conflict and obstacles should continue, but there has to be a reason for it. Danny and Mindy as an opposites attract coupling should provide plenty of material for this, however scenes like the one on the fire escape are important and still offer opportunity for absurdist/dark humor such as the kitchen knife Mindy accidentally drops followed by the sound of sirens. This first episode back is promising and this pairing is the strongest/most consistent on The Mindy Project; now they are a couple there are a new series of challenges and I am hopeful that this creative team will blast any Moonlighting curse nonsense out of the water so we can stop citing this a reason why a “will they/won’t they” shouldn’t progress to “What next?”

Scandal 3.01 “It’s Handled” Costume Review

4 Oct

It’s back! After a summer of catching up with Scandal, talking about Scandal, predicting what Olivia Pope might wear and admiring what star Kerry Washington has been wearing we can finally talk about the season 3 premiere. This is going to be a different kind of review as I’m going to be looking at the costuming and how this adds to the narrative and tone of the episode. Costume designer Lyn Paolo has done an excellent job of establishing key aspects of a character’s wardrobe – such as Olivia never deviating from wearing pants in the office – and I will be looking at how this informs a scene and how it evolves over the season.

Scandal 3.1 Olivia Burberry Trench

The centerpiece outfit is this incredible Burberry Prorsum Caped Duchess Satin Trench Coat and it acts as armor for Olivia; it’s what Olivia wears to tell her father that she is never out of options and as she tries to work out the best solution with Fitz and Mellie. Olivia has worn other more traditional Burberry trench coats in the past and there is a powerful image that this silhouette produces as Olivia walks with determination to her destination. We’re not used to seeing Olivia backed into a corner like this and while she is trying to give off an image of control her expression reveals how hurt and lost she is feeling. This piece features in the “Storm is Coming” promo photos and it’s one that I wrote about in the Fantasy Costuming series back in July (yes I still can’t believe something I picked something that features this heavily in the season premiere).

Scandal 3.1 Mellie and Olivia

If you knew nothing about this show then the image above quickly identifies the two opposing styles of the women in Fitz’s life. Mellie is very traditional and while she rails against the notion that as First Lady she is ornamental not functional she knows how to dress the part. Block colors are very much part of the Mellie look and here she wears midnight blue to emphasize that in her position no matter how ornamental, she still has power and authority even in the presence of the woman that Fitz really loves. Despite their differences Mellie and Olivia are mirroring the other with arms folded as they try to resolve this situation. Olivia is very much in what you would consider work wear – her uniform consists of well tailored pant suits and the costuming shows a clear divide between the roles these women play.

Scandal 3.1 Mellie in black

Olivia lays out what color Mellie should wear when they tell the press about the affair details, she tells her to wear a soft color like lavender and as you can see from the photo about Mellie goes in the opposite direction with black. Mellie is clearly not on board with Fitz and Olivia’s plan and this is because she has figured out that Fitz is the one who leaked Olivia’s name. She’s ready to go to war with Fitz and by dressing in black she is mourning the death of her marriage (which died a long time ago) and shows that she is not backing down from this fight. While the cut is still very much in the First Lady tradition, it’s going against the vibrant color palette that we normally associate with Mellie. Gone are the regular pearls too and the necklace she is wearing looks like pearls made from gun metal which is appropriate given all the war talk with Fitz.

Scandal 3.1 Fitz as Kennedy

While Fitz’s costuming is pretty much what he has always worn, I really like the above shot as it’s reminiscent of this JFK portrait and the image of Kennedy has already been mentioned earlier in the episode. Fitz also pulls a move when he takes off his jacket that at first suggests that he expects some sexy time in the bunker, instead he pulls Olivia into a very different kind of embrace as he comforts her. I’m not Fitz’s biggest fan as he tends to act like a horny teenager a lot of the time so this was a very pleasant surprise.

Scandal 3.1 Olivia and Harrison

Olivia returns to the office mad as hell because of the role her team played in choosing an innocent woman to get Olivia off the hook. Harrison is all “There’s nothing wrong with a little self-preservation” showing that these gladiators sure like to live in the moral grey areas. As always Harrison is impeccably dressed and by mixing a polka dot tie with a gingham shirt he shows that power clashing is something he does with both his clothes and with his boss. Olivia is in her usual work wear and I wonder if we will be seeing more dark shades after this experience. I don’t think she will be wearing the white hat that David gave her anytime soon.

Scandal 3.1 Quinn and HuckQuinn jokes that they should find a bad intern they can blame again who can end up dead, well she made it seem like a joke but considering how she took to torturing at the end of season 2 part of her is probably being serious. From the way Quinn dresses you wouldn’t be able to tell that she is developing this darkness and she wears the brightest colors in the office. Her costuming is still very girly and this gives her an unassuming quality.

Scandal 3.1 AbbyThere’s something different about Abby this season her poker straight hair has been transformed into this gloriously wavy style (something I have praised about Darby Stanchfield’s red carpet look). We’ve been promised more Abby backstory this season and her style has evolved from being somewhat uptight to this more relaxed and confident appearance. Her relationship with David might have something to do with this and while it doesn’t look like they are back together there was definitely something that bordered on flirtation in the premiere. Abby is one of the only characters that calls Olivia out and so this confidence might also be down to feeling less like one of Olivia’s fixing projects and something nearer to an equal, especially as Olivia has a problem that needs to be fixed now.

A really strong start to the new season and I’m looking forward to discussing how the costuming on Scandal informs and adds to the experience of watching this show.

Julie Hammerle

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